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The Internet Teacher: Online/Virtual/Cyber or Authority in Alterity Relations?

Thu, November 12, 8:30 to 10:00am, Denver Sheraton, Plaza Ballroom E


With this paper, I seek to demonstrate how the common ideological and discursive practices of putting prefixes like online, virtual or cyber in front of traditional educational concepts, and thereby having converted them into new innovative practices, in no way mirror the material everyday practices with online education. With a point of departure in empirical data gathered by following a university department’s online courses in half a year, the paper presents a work-in-progress conceptualization of what a teacher is in an online course setting.
In order to do this I draw on the concepts of alterity relations (Ihde 1990) and authority as a relational matter. Alterity relations designates that the teacher in these settings is not identical with the organic body of the academic, but also a question of asynchronous flash videos and assessment algorithms, which constitutes a Technological Other for the student. Authority as a relational matter denotes that authority is not a substance one possesses, but an on going negotiated condition, where the students have to recognize something as an authority.


Bingham, C. (2008). Authority is Relational: Rethinking Educational Empowerment. New York: State of New York University Press.

Ihde, D. (1990). Technology and the Lifeworld: From Garden to Earth. Bloomington & Indianapolis: Indiana University Press.

Irwin, S. (2006). Technological Other/Quasi Other: Reflection on Lived Experience. Human Studies. 28: 453-467.